Blog? What Blog?

Standard

Between the cough/cold/mutant-germ-planning-to-take-over-the-world thing I’ve had and trying to keep up my word count for NaNoWriMo, I admit my poor blog has been a little…neglected. Alas. But I suppose there are only so many words one can type in a day. And the hacking cough probably doesn’t help.

Nope, forget the “probably.” It doesn’t.

It’s one of those things, you can’t do everything, so some things fall by the wayside. Not far by the wayside, but still, by the wayside. Just ask my dishwasher, which, if I leave it to its own devices any longer, it will be emptying itself.

If only.

So my blogging may be spotty over the next few weeks. Hopefully my word count will not, my NaNoFiMo is in full swing, my second manuscript of the month a little over halfway done. Now if I finish that before I finish my words, that will be it’s own issue, but you know what they say about crossing bridges.

All you other NaNoers, I hope it’s going well. And barring that, I hope it’s going.

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only).

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

6 Things to Do When You’re Stuck

Standard

We’ve all been there, word count looming like a stadium scoreboard and we’re on the losing team. There’s no forward motion. Nothing is happening. You just can’t seem to gain momentum. What do you do? While throwing your computer across the room and watching disintegrate into a thousand shards might seem satisfying for about 12 seconds, or until you need the computer again, there are some less expensive options. Here are 6 of them.

Add a character. If things seem kind of flat and not quite engaging, it might be because you are missing someone. Try making up a new person to add to the mix, s/he might be exactly what the plot needs to get itself going.

Do something really mean to your protagonist. Sure, we tend to like our main characters. We get to know them, we spend a lot of time with them, they become like our little figment families. But sometimes you just have to make their lives miserable. Why? Because their problems make a story interesting. People want to know how they will deal with them, how they will get through them. When you’re stuck, the problem could be that you are too nice to your imaginary pals. Make them mad at you.

Skip ahead. Don’t know what happens next, but know what happens down the line? Go there. No one says you have to write chronologically. Your story, your timeline. Do it in whatever order appeals to you, and you’ll be flowing in no time. You can always figure out how you got there later.

Give your antagonist something s/he shouldn’t have. This one is similar to doing something mean to your protagonist, only you’re approaching it from the other side. What does your antagonist really, really want? What would be the absolute worst thing in the world you could give him/her? Do it. Because then you will have to figure out how to deal with it.

Create a new location.  A change of scenery can be good for the soul, and it can be good for the story, too. The environment can influence mood. It can make things available that otherwise wouldn’t be; it can also take things away that your characters would otherwise have. Sometimes the story is in the journey.

Step away. When all else fails, take a break. Get away from your manuscript, get away from that taunting computer, and get away from the protagonist who doesn’t want to take responsibility for his/her own plot. Take a walk, surf the internet, watch some TV, and most importantly let your mind wander. That’s when it does its best work.

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only).

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

 

Well, NaNoWriMo Brought It

Standard

I admit it. I had one of my tougher days of writing so far yesterday. I couldn’t get started, and then, finally, when I did, it was wading through sludge I didn’t know my brain possessed. I really should get someone in there to clean that all out.

But I trudged through, waist-deep in it (my shoes are a wreck) only to get to a point, right at the end, where Something Finally Happened. Hallelujah.

Part of me wanted to skip yesterday. Part of me figured, hey, my word count is pretty good at this point, I can take a day off. And then I heard from a friend doing NaNoWriMo who had been struggling all week. I’ve had a lot of words for that friend about slogging through.

He’d had a fantastic writing day.

Talk about positive peer pressure. I couldn’t, after all my going on about sticking with it, putting in the time regardless of mood (anyone remember yesterday? Anyone?) skip the day because of, well, mood. So I did what I always do when the work does whatever the opposite of “beckons” is. I sat down. I got my fingers ready. And I hit “start” on the timer.

And after writing the aforementioned schlock, after trying to make something, anything spark, finally, near the end of the session, something hit. Setting me up for a more peaceful pick-up today.

With writing, there are up days and down days, and the down ones can really get to you. But you never know when a down one will turn itself around, and you’ll make it into that imaginary world after all.

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only).

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

NaNoWriMoing Away

Standard

So as we make our way through this first week of NaNoWriMo, the reality that you’ve got to plug away at your words, every single day, is probably sinking in. And it can get tiring. Just the thought of it can get tiring.

I’m finding it tiring.

But, on the other hand, I think it is great training. You can’t get through NaNo without discipline, without making squeezing in your words, however you do that, a non-negotiable. And that’s where you really get the sense of writing with a purpose.

Here’s the thing: inspiration is so fleeting. It’s there and its gone and it’s slippery as it’s going by. When you have that rush, it’s fantastic, but when it comes to writing, you can’t always depend on that rush. Mood is the same thing. Sometimes the mood strikes where all you want is your computer, a surface, and a big block of time to make your fictional world grow.

Those things are luxuries. They are wonderful, sublime, even, when they happen, but most of the work of producing a book isn’t like that. Most of it is work.

NaNo is a fun way to really see inside the world of producing creatively, as it doesn’t allow you, really, to put it down when the feeling passes. In order to finish, you have to stick with it, no matter how you feel about it, no matter whether you think its good or terrible or somewhere in between.

But here’s the best part about it. Unless you’re running on a very, very outdated tablet, nothing you write is written in stone. So go for it. Push yourself. Write through the parts that feel scratchy, uncomfortable. At the end you’ll have something you can can work with, and isn’t that the point?

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only).

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Bring It, NaNoWriMo

Standard

So here we are in Day 5 of NaNoWriMo, or in my case, NaNoFiMo, and I thought I’d check in with how I’m doing. Didn’t get to much blogging yet this week, and I figure I’m overdue.

My plan was to take manuscripts that were in various states of completion (or, more to the point, non-completion) and finish them. Here’s how I’m doing. I’ve got one manuscript down! It was further along than I remembered, and it didn’t take that much to wrap it up. That was the easy part.

When I got to the next manuscript I had in mind, things got a little stickier. I started reading it and I hated it. Hated it. It was older than I remembered, and it read like it. Though there are some worthwhile concepts in it, it will need to be ripped to the foundation and redone completely. Not exactly what I had in mind for NaNo.

That was disheartening.

And so then I had to decide what was next. All of my remaining choices had far less progress, which means that I can, in all likelihood, only finish one more manuscript this month. Oh well.

But that’s NaNo, isn’t it? It’s all about adjusting, rolling with the unexpected things that pop up, writing when it sounds like nonsense, and going when you just don’t feel like it. NaNo is many things, but most of all, it is endurance training in a race where the conditions are always changing.

That’s my NaNo so far. How about yours? How’s it going?

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only).

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Voter Lookup

Standard

I don’t usually talk about politics here, but every registered voter in the U.S. should vote today. It’s a fundamental right we should each take pride in exercising. Not sure what’s on your ballot or where to go? Use this handy tool to find out what you need to know to take part in choosing our government.

 

Fire Up Those NaNoWriMo Engines

Standard

So it all starts tomorrow. The typeface flag drops at midnight, then we’re off to the writing races, and I think this is the first year that I am not feeling nervous, only excited. I’ve even logged into the NaNoWriMo site at this point, so I mean it.

I think one of the best parts about NaNoWriMo is the change that can happen from one end of the month to the other. If you’re doing a traditional NaNo (this year, I am not) you can start Day 1 with absolutely nothing and end on Day 30 with something you’ve created from that nothing. That’s the best kind of magic.

In my case, this NaNo is all about unfinished business. I’m taking the manuscripts that are nearly done, partially done, almost done, and getting them to a first-draft ending. I’ve dubbed it my NaNoFiMo, or “finishing month.” Their unfinished states needled me, nagged at me, even when I didn’t know it was happening, so I’m bringing them home.

Well, technically, they’re already home, but you know what I mean.

NaNo is usually about fresh starts, clean, new pages, untainted beginnings, but that’s not what I wanted this year. It’s not what I needed this year.

We’ll see how it goes, the gathering of (at least) 50,000 words as November goes on, scattered across universes, across ideas, perhaps across genres. Each one finished a small personal victory.

Because that’s what NaNo is really about. It’s personal victory. It’s taking a challenge for no other reason than because you want to, because you’ve chosen to take it on.

Everyone limber up your typing fingers. We’re nearly there.

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only).

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!